Since the industrial revolution period, there has been a fast growth in the number of constructed structures all over the globe. An increase in buildings and construction activities has been fueled by the need to improve infrastructures such as buildings and roads to facilitate industrialization. However, on the other end, the globe has been receiving painful blows as environmental degradation has skyrocketed with a phenomenon such as global warming and climatic change becoming the headlines. It has become vital for architectures to be considering the impact of the buildings on the environment using building life cycle assessment and implement sustainable architecture, otherwise, the earth will be inhabitable.
Architecture and Environment
Nkandu and Alibaba point to the fast-growing demand for applicable and effective sustainable architecture design approach which is ecofriendly (6). The authors further suggest the use of Biomimicry which involves imitating the ecological systems such as designing a bridge like a tree that produces oxygen. Biomimicry exists in three levels which are behavior, organism, and eco-system which are effective on a macro scale. The study further asserts that Biomimicry is effective only when the three levels have been considered and incorporated in the design forming a well-adapted organism and coming up with conducive conditions to life. Gutierrez adds that tourism architecture has led to adverse effects on island ecosystems such as severely affecting wildlife habitats, soils, vegetation, landscapes, and wetlands (1062). He poses a question on the need for environmentally friendly architecture and landscape design.
According to Motealleh, Zolfaghari, and Parsaee, architectural engineers have devised responsive solutions in their vernacular architecture as evident in Bushehr cities such as green architecture or green buildings which take landscaping into account and have a positive impact on the environment (219). Gutiérrez talks of the persuasive strategies and architecture choices for decisions that are sustainable in an urban movement where green building technologies have helped in the reduction of Carbon dioxide emissions (1060). While designing a building, persuasive technologies have been put in place through the use of mobile applications supported by a choice architecture approach that aims at persuading urban dwellers to use energy and water efficiency in the buildings. Enormous strategies have been integrated into persuasive technologies to induce behavioral change among designers and residents by selecting buildings and resources which are environment friendly. The persuasive technologies are packaged in several forms such as systems that guide users incorrectly structuring the choices available in making decisions in different scenarios and design of visual feedback systems.
Ivan, et al., discusses how a low carbon architecture is highly needed in the globe following the rising cries and statistics on the adverse effects of global warming and climate change (380). Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased to 377 parts per million in the past years which is contributed by human activities such as construction which excessively emit greenhouse gases. In the past 30 years, the building sector has contributed to 30 percent of greenhouse emissions annually and further uses around 40 percent of total energy (Bothos, Efthimios, et al., 112). Construction materials for instance cement production are a significant cause of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide which is estimated to be 2.4 percent of global emissions. Ozone layer depletion, climate change, global warming among other environmental issues are a result of greenhouse gas emissions right from the production of the construction materials to the emissions produced by the constructed structure in its lifetime.
Adoption of sustainable architecture techniques right from the early stages of the building cycle such as design, construction, operation, and demolition will make it possible to reduce the negative impacts of buildings by creating a healthier environment even for future generations (Yu 50). Sustainable architecture techniques offer the highest possibility for remarkably minimizing emissions, at a friendly price, in both developing and developed countries. Low carbon architecture is a technique that is based on human ecology with the simultaneous sustainable growth of the society, economy, and architecture hence bringing harmony between nature and humans (Khamseh 162). The core driver of sustainable design is the zero carbon buildings which help in curbing the advancement of climate change by using renewable energy sources and dropping the energy demand close to zero. The utilization of sustainable building materials and locally available materials will help in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from cement manufacturing and fuel required for the transportation of construction materials to the site. Architects are out to ensure proper natural ventilation when designing room openings, use of natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting, utilization of high thermal mass, and installation of energy management systems. Other modern building materials have emerged such as wool bricks that do not fire and solar tiles that capture solar energy hence meeting the energy needs of the building occupants.
Current health crisis such as COVID-19 has developed the built environment aimed at increasing the security layers that aid in averting the spread of diseases and infections. The introduction of some preventive measures such as social distancing, quarantine, and lockdown has had immense impacts on urban planning approaches and architecture. A sustainable environment will be established during the post-pandemic era through an architecture that harnesses the security layers to prevent ever-mutating virus infections (Megahed and Ghoneim 4). The post-pandemic architecture will be focused on creating less populated and well-ventilated rooms.
Generally, Scholars have come to a consensus that one cannot design or build a good structure devoid of understanding its relationship with the surrounding environment and natural systems. It is worth noting for the Architectural engineers to make buildings more green and environment friendly by adapting them to the surroundings that are creating structures that are energy efficient and reduce the general impact on nature and human health from the built environment. From the different articles and research materials articulated, architectures need to consider water, energy, and other resources efficiency, safeguard dwellers’ health, empower their productivity and further reduce environmental degradation, pollution, and waste through sustainable architecture.
Andrić, Ivan, et al. “Initial approximation of the implications for architecture due to climate change.” Advances in Building Energy Research 15.3 (2021): 337-367.
Bothos, Efthimios, et al. “Watch your Emissions: Persuasive Strategies and Choice Architecture for Sustainable Decisions in Urban Mobility.” PsychNology Journal 12.3 (2014): 107-125.
Gutiérrez, Lourdes Ruiz. “The environmental effects of tourism architecture on island ecosystem in Cayo Guillermo, Cuba.” Journal of Environmental Protection 6.09 (2015): 1057- 1065.
Khamseh, Negar Sheikh Mohammadi. “Global need for low carbon architecture.” Journal of sustainable development 7.1 (2014): 161-166.
Megahed, Naglaa A., and Ehab M. Ghoneim. “Antivirus-built environment: Lessons learned from Covid-19 pandemic.” Sustainable cities and society 61 (2020): 4-10.
Motealleh, Parinaz, Maryam Zolfaghari, and Mojtaba Parsaee. “Investigating climate responsive solutions in the vernacular architecture of Bushehr city.” HBRC Journal 14.2 (2018): 215-223.
Nkandu, Mwila Isabel, and Halil Zafer Alibaba. “Biomimicry as an alternative approach to sustainability.” Architecture Research 8.1 (2018): 1-11.
Yu, Jun Hua. “Global Climate Change Opportunity as Well as Challenge to Architecture.” Advanced Materials Research. Vol. 243. Trans Tech Publications Ltd, (2011): 43-55.